What Can Bar Etiquette Teach You About Hiring Tech Talent?

How do you kick off the New Year when you’re a growing business in need of amazing tech talent?

You co-host SF Tech Crawl with Betts Recruiting. Far from conventional, Betts Recruiting takes stodgy networking events with formal handshakes and forced smiles and injects a much needed layer of fun.

At SF Tech Crawl, Betts provided candidates with maps and pint glasses and sent them throughout the city for speed dating style socialization with some fun-loving companies. NewVoiceMedia was more than happy to join in and meet candidates to complement our high-energy office.

We take pride in NewVoiceMedia’s culture as fun, open and inviting, and we wanted an unconventional way to showcase our office to potential candidates. So what did we do? We dressed up our humble San Francisco abode as a traditional English pub – a slight head nod to our UK HQ – complete with bar games, football memorabilia and plenty of Union Jack flags.

Along with our standard giveaways, we staged a photo area for attendees to take pictures with quirky memorabilia and beefeater hats.

Things we learned…

The event was a tremendous success that provided us with a packed house of top-quality candidates. Not only were they extremely qualified, but spirited (and not just because of the alcohol).

Too often, when recruiting for tech talent, companies get caught in the routine of standard screenings and aptitude tests, but they forget to account for culture.

At the networking event, our employees were able to see how candidates acted outside of the dressed-up trappings of the interview process. Conversations were frank and revealing. By stripping away formality, we saw “real” applicants as their true selves.

As I’m sure Salesforce can attest, success is equal parts the product you sell and the people you hire. So what can a London-style sports bar tell you about your applicants?

1. Bar chat: Can your candidates work a room? It’s a question that is relevant across all levels. Not everyone is a skilled conversationalist, but strong applicants should at least be able to feel out conversations and trade words in a coherent manner. It’s not just the banter though; a person that can formulate unique thoughts and articulate them in a way that contributes to the conversation is a strong ally in any office. They don’t need to wow the room, but they should be able to maintain some conversational dynamic.

2. Darts, ping pong and cornhole: How a person wins and how a person loses paints a picture of the kind of employee you’re hiring. Gracious in defeat and humble in victory – those are the kind of candidates who craft comfortable work environments. Similarly, those who rise to competition, embrace challenges and insist on a “rematch” rather than pouting may harbor the steadfast attitude your company needs.

3. Moderation: Yes, there was drinking at the event, but we aren’t just talking about that. Sure, bumbling around and slamming back beers won’t win you any popularity contests with HR, but neither will any other kind of gluttony. Are your candidates verbally punishing the executive team with a conversation that has long since died? A good candidate recognizes the need to make good conversation, good fun and a good exit so that they are missed rather than dismissed. Food, beer, conversation – if they can’t manage these resources and are quick to starve others, how will they treat your office when they’ve been brought onboard?

We certainly learned a lot from our unconventional event and hope to do many more in the future. Our office is ever-growing as is our passion for hiring great talent. Perhaps now, we will look for more social ways to engage prospects…

As featured on the Salesforce Blog

Gary Lane
Gary Lane


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